ECOWAS Goes Tough on Guinea, Mali -Demands release of Alpha Conde, urgent elections in two countries

The Heads of States and Government of countries under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) rose from their extraordinary summit held in Accra, Ghana yesterday, Thursday, September 16, 2021 and took some far reaching decisions to address the political situations in ‘Guinea and Mali, both countries with military leadership which goes foul against Democratic Protocols promulgated by the Sub regional body.

According to the communiqué issued at the end of the summit, the leaders among other things reiterated the unreserved condemnation of the coup of September 5, 2021 in Guinea and reaffirmed the demand for the immediate and unconditional release of former President Alpha Conde as well as holding members of the new military junta, the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development (CNRD), individually and collectively responsible for the physical safety of the former leader.

In what appears to be that the ECOWAS leaders are convinced that the military government will return to the barracks for a civilian election via national elections, the communiqué said the Authority appraised the current socio-political situation in Guinea of the apparent commitment of the CNRD to work towards a swift return to constitutional order. It also took note of the CNRD’s decision to hold consultations with all national and international stakeholders on the socio-political situation in Guinea.

“After consideration of the Report and subsequent deliberations, the Authority decides as follows:  to uphold the suspension of Guinea from all ECOWAS governing bodies until the restoration of constitutional order, to ensure the conduct of presidential and legislative elections within six (6) months in order to restore constitutional rule in the Republic of Guinea, to impose sanctions, in accordance with extant ECOWAS Protocols, of travel bans on the members of the CNRD and their family members and of freeze of their financial assets, to call on the African Union, the European Union, the United Nations, and other multilateral and bilateral partners to support the implementation of these sanctions, to ensure that no member of the CNRD is allowed to contest in the presidential election and  ECOWAS to accompany Guinea in the swift resolution of the crisis and in the preparations for the elections”, the document stated.

On the Political Transition in the Republic of Mali, the communiqué said  the Authority remains deeply concerned about the slow pace of preparations for the elections scheduled for late February 2022 in the country and equally reiterated its demands for strict adherence to the transition timetable leading to the effective conduct of elections within the nonnegotiable deadline of February 2022.” To this end, the Authority calls on the transitional authorities to submit, by the end of October 2021 at the latest, the timetable, for setting out the essential steps to be taken for the February 2022 elections. It insists on the implementation of only the necessary reforms for the conduct of elections on the agreed date”, the communiqué said.

The communiqué further stated that the Authority has decided to impose targeted sanctions against persons or groups of persons whose actions have a negative impact on the transition timetable, as decided by the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government. It added that these sanctions would include travel ban on such persons and their family members and the freezing of their financial assets, stressing that the Authority has instructed the President of the ECOWAS Commission to compile and submit a list of such persons and groups of persons.

“The Authority strongly condemns the continued arrest and detention of political leaders and opponents by the transitional authorities. It also demands that the issue be handled in line with the rule of law and respect for human rights”.

The communiqué further said the Authority strongly condemns the decision of the transitional authorities to hire private security companies in Mali and is greatly concerned about its consequences on the deterioration of the security situation in Mali and the region as a whole.

“In light of recent developments in the region, the Authority reaffirms that the consolidation of democracy and good governance is crucial for the development, peace and stability of the region. Consequently, the Authority instructs the President of the Commission to initiate the process of reviewing the 2001 Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance in order to ensure democracy, peace and stability in our region”, the communiqué concluded.

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